10 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Calcium + What To Do About It

Registered Dietitian By Lea Basch, M.S., R.D.
Registered Dietitian
Lea Basch, M.S., R.D., is a registered dietitian for The Tasteful Pantry. She received her bachelors and masters in nutrition and dietetics at Florida International University and a bachelors in education at the University of Florida.

Calcium is important not only for bone and dental health, but it also has an impact on blood pressure, heart health, body weight, and prostate cancer prevention.

The way calcium works in our bodies is that we have calcium circulating in our blood as well as stored in our bones. Blood calcium is very tightly self-regulated, but if calcium is low in the blood either due to low calcium in your diet or a deficiency caused by another illness, calcium is released from the bones. That’s why the majority of symptoms of calcium deficiency are related to soft or brittle bones (e.g., osteoporosis, poor dental health).

The signs of insufficient calcium aren’t typically apparent in immediate symptoms, but rather they present as some of the longer-term problems.

Signs of Calcium Deficiency

1. Frequent broken bones

2. Dental cavities

In general, these are caused by poor oral hygiene but lack of calcium can contribute, especially in the young and in pregnant women.

3. Rickets in children

Rickets is the softening and weakening of bones in children, usually because of an extreme and prolonged deficiency in vitamin D, which aids in calcium absorption.

4. Osteopenia or osteoporosis

Especially in the elderly.

5. High blood pressure

People who don’t get enough calcium are at higher risk for hypertension; calcium may help lower blood pressure slightly.

6. Overweight

Consuming high-calcium, low-fat dairy products has been shown to aid in weight loss or the maintenance of a healthy weight.

7. Tingling and numbness in fingers

This can indicate a serious calcium imbalance that is often associated with other clinical problems such as hypoparathyroidism.

8. Lethargy

9. Muscle cramps

10. Abnormal cardiac rhythms

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How to Prevent a Calcium Deficiency

The best way to boost your calcium intake is through food. It’s not just about how much calcium you’re getting but also how it's being absorbed into your body.

Good dietary sources of calcium include:

  • Dairy products (e.g., milk, yogurt, kefir)
  • Boned fish (e.g., sardines)
  • Soy and tofu
  • Dark green vegetables

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